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Right versus obligation

  • Casting a spoilt vote is a way of expressing one's frustration with the existing parties, forcing them to change, which is actually a show of positive attitude.

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

Some people are obviously very unhappy with the spolit vote campaign.

As a matter of fact, people who have the slightest political sense and understand their rights and obligations, should know they need not be this headstrong or enraged.

Voting is a right, not an obligation, of citizens. The difference between the two is that you can choose to exercise or ignore your right, but obligation is what you are obliged to do, as it involves personal responsibility.

For instance, you can choose to marry and have children, which is your right. No one can stop you from doing so. However, no one can force you to marry and have children, unless they are religious police, the Taliban or IS, of course.

Similarly, we do not need election police to force people to vote, and vote for a particular party as per their requirements.

I'm indeed worried, if you stay at home on the polling day, whether you will be hauled to the polling station and be watched closely to make sure you put the cross inside the right box on the ballot paper.

I'm not kidding! During the last election, we did have a group of people doubling as election policemen going after some 40,000 supposedly Bangladeshi voters at polling stations.

You might wonder why voting is not made an obligation. An obligation is only established upon a set of absolutely correct moral standards, making it not morally right to avert. For example, parents have an obligation to raise their own children.

Today, many people see BN as corrupt, unfair and stagnant. As for Pakatan Harapan, it lacks clear vision and is now chaired by a 93-year-old former dictator and inventor of money politics. Besides these two, we have another party that vows to rule Malaysia with Islamic laws.

How do you want us to vote? A reluctant choice could be dangerous and against one's conscience.

In the last US presidential election, Trump was portrayed as the overbearing and ignorant Donald Duck and Clinton, an old fashioned hypocritical Minnie Mouse. Sp people started to campaign for voters to draw a DD or MM on the ballot papers. Indeed, many did. It was a humorous and democratic way of American expression.

Some say casting spoilt votes is passive. I beg to differ! Casting a spoilt vote is a way of expressing one's frustration with existing political parties, forcing them to change, which is actually a manifestation of positive attitude.

Moreover, there are still about a hundred days before we actually go to the polls. Pressure must be applied now so that the parties still have time to review and change. If they get it right, the spoilt votes might even turn to positive votes of support!

People may have overreacted, thinking that spoilt votes are unfavorable to their sides.

Mahathir says spoiling votes is narrow-minded; Najib says it's against the principles of democracy; and PAS rejects spoilt votes, too.

This means all parties are scared of spoilt votes. They must have felt the pressure from voters!

In other words, spoilt votes are not targeted specifically at any party or camp and it is therefore unnecessary for their die-hard fans to demonize spoilt votes. Who knows these spoilt votes may come to their rescue in the end!

Of course, I am not here to encourage spoilt votes. If anyone thinks he or she should vote for a particular party, or not vote for any, by all means do it, as it is your right!

 

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